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Dr. Elisabeth Adams

Associate Research Scientist

Currently resides in Somerville, MA
adams [at]
Areas of Expertise
Dwarf planets, Exoplanets, Kuiper Belt, Pluto, Small satellites | Kepler | Ground-based observing, Numerical modeling, Space-based observing | Cameras | IRTF, MMT

Research Interests

Dr. Elisabeth Adams is interested in dynamic planetary systems of all kinds, from the Kuiper Belt of our own solar system to distant exoplanets.

Professional History

Dr. Adams got her PhD from MIT in 2010, where she worked with Jim Elliot and Sara Seager on precisely-timed ground-based transit observations, in order to search for deviations caused by other planets and to improve other planetary parameters. Other major projects as a graduate student include: modeling the solid composition of super-Earths (planets with 1-10 times Earth's mass); predicting and observing occultations by Pluto, Charon, and other large Kuiper Belt objects; and analyzing the statistics of the 500 objects found by the Deep Ecliptic Survey to determine the debiased number of objects in the Kuiper Belt. As a postdoc at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics with Andrea Dupree, Dr. Adams worked with the Kepler Follow-up Observing Project (now the Kepler Community Follow-up Observing Project) to obtain and analyze adaptive optics (AO) images of over a hundred stars hosting planet candidates found by the Kepler space mission. These high-resolution images reveal nearby and/or faint stars which can contaminate observations, and are also used to statistically validate a candidate as a bona fide planet. Most recently, Dr. Adams is searching for ultra-short-period planets, with orbital periods of less than a day, using K2 and Kepler data.

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